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Pillow top mattresses are a relatively recent invention, but have quickly become a must-have for those who want a hotel bed experience at home. Popular for their ability to deliver extra comfort at an affordable price, pillow-top mattresses possess a cloud-like top layer that helps distribute body weight and provides a luxuriously comfortable feel on top of a supportive spring base.
Below, our top picks of the best pillow-top mattresses for a better night’s sleep.
In addition to the pillowtop, you need to consider what the mattress underneath is made from. Today, most mattresses are made with innersprings, foam, or a combination of both. Foam mattresses contour to your body more readily but make it harder to shift around. On the other hand, innerspring mattresses are more firm and bouncy, which means it’s easier to disturb your partner.
Pillow top mattresses are inherently soft, but you can still choose different levels of support and firmness. Research suggests that a medium firm mattress is best for back pain.
“It’s important to have the comfort level be there; however, for longevity of the mattress I’ve found that the medium firmness tends to be more preferred by patients,” says Dr. Samantha March-Howard, doctor of chiropractic at 100% Chiropractic office in Dunwoody, Georgia. “When it’s too firm, it’s just as bad as being too soft, and it’s hard for the muscles to relax on any materials that are like that.”
If you’re buying a mattress online, there’s no way to know if you like it until it arrives. That’s why it’s important to see if the retailer offers a trial period so you can test the mattress out at home. Consider things like the trial length, refund policy, and shipping logistics.
Old school mattresses are the same on both sides and can be flipped and rotated at will to reduce wear and tear in a single area and increase their longevity. Pillow-top mattresses are another story. Flip a pillow top mattress over and you have essentially robbed it of its purpose since it is by definition a one-sided proposition.
To keep your pillow top mattress free of dust, mites, hair, and other allergens, be sure to vacuum it regularly (advice ranges from every time you change your sheets to every three months). Regularly washing your sheets and pillowcases will also help keep your mattress clean by removing dirt, dust, and bodily fluids that can transfer from sheets. If your pillow top mattress has a removable cover, be sure to wash that regularly as well according to manufacturer instructions.
The longevity of your pillow top mattress will depend on a number of factors. These include the quality of the construction, the materials used, how many people are sleeping on it, how much those people weigh, move around, and sweat. Be sure to use a mattress protector, and to rotate your mattress 180 degrees on a regular basis. As a general rule, mattresses should be replaced every 7 to 10 years, but pillow top mattresses have a shorter lifespan and generally are made to last from between 4 and 7 years.
The soft filling in a pillow top mattress has a tendency to get compressed from the weight of the body that is using it, causing it to sag. One way to prevent sagging is to regularly rotate the mattress, so that wear and tear is distributed evenly. You can also use the suction of a hand-held vacuum to pull the pillow top filling back into shape.
This article was written and researched by Justine Harrington, a product writer for The Spruce who specializes in home and lifestyle topics. Her work has been published in national outlets like Fodor’s and Backpacker, among others. For additional background information about mattresses, we talked to Dr. Samantha March-Howard, doctor of chiropractic at 100% Chiropractic Office in Dunwoody, Georgia, who spoke about mattress firmness.
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